Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: March with Jay’s Army

One of the best parts about what Jenna and I do is getting to meet amazing people. People who (without force) cause us look at our own lives and realize, our problems are simply inconveniences. Our problems aren’t problems, they’re just symptoms of life.

Sitting with Travis and Bridget, listening to their story, we were humbled. Their voices did more than recall events from the past. They spoke acceptance, strength and hope. Their child is sick, but they cherish the good days and the small victories. They have a perspective on life rarely seen in the absence of adversity.

Now I’m not saying it’s impossible to appreciate good when the times are good, and remember them when the times are bad. I’m also not saying those who have seen devastation and the harder side of life can’t become complacent and forget it when times are good. What I’m saying is, hearing these stories and building relationships with these families has made us better people and helped us refocus on the little things.

We left Travis, Bridget and Jay eager to share their story because we were impacted by it. The world needs to be impacted by these strong people. The subject matter of the images or the film may not always be the happiest. But strength, hope and beauty can be born out of sorrow and struggle. Travis and Bridget face something we couldn’t imagine, yet their chins are up and their words speak hope. That’s what the world needs, words of hope spoken by those whom outsiders view as living in the darkness.

Waukesha, WI Photography

“On June 16, 2012, when Jay was 13 months old he was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma.  He had a tumor that took up most of the left side of his chest and involved his spinal cord. He faced 8 rounds of chemo and surgery with an incorrigible sense of humor. Tragedy struck again on January 4, 2013 when Jay was diagnosed with therapy-related leukemia; the treatment to save him from Neuroblastoma had given him a second cancer.  He has recently undergone a bone marrow transplant and is continuing to receive treatment at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.”  (March with Jay’s Army) Childhood cancer Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Milwaukee March with Jay's Army March with Jay's Army March with Jay's Army March with Jay's Army Waukesha, WI.  Hope through photography Frame park, Formal Gardens, Waukesha, WI Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Formal Gardens at Frame Park in Waukesha, WIWaukesha, WI

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Treyden John Kurtzweil

Treyden left us today. He left us connected as a community bound together in love and prayer. He left us as an angel resting amongst his family. He left us with memories of a smile, laugh and a journey shared. He left us as better people. He left us to carry on his name, to never quit, look back or ever stop loving those who are in his same fight. Treyden left a legacy and didn’t lose a fight.

Jenna and I feel so blessed to have been able to spend time with Treyden. Getting to know Treyden and his family has enriched our lives and inspired the existence of Cue The Light. And wherever we go from here, we believe Treyden will always be with us.  ❤

These tears keep falling and I want them to. Treyden deserves them because we only cry when something matters, and Treyden matters. His life and his death matter. Treyden brought out the best in us. He plugged us into something bigger than Facebook, The Bachelorette or Dancing with the Stars. He plugged us into the human experience. He plugged us into relationships. He pulled us out of our comfort zone and helped us feel emotions the world has tried to numb. We are in this together and Treyden proved it. Let us not fall back into old routine. Let us push forward and be the change Treyden moved us be. Let the night not set on our hearts and let us never resign to the shadows. Let us stand together in the light and tell the “world” we are changed.

Travis and Cassie have let us into their world. They’ve shown us their wounds and their reality. They deserve the best from us. We feel like their family has become part of ours and they have made us feel welcome in theirs. When my father was ill several months ago, I ran into Cassie in the hospital cafeteria. She asked me how my dad was doing with concern in her eyes. She doesn’t know this, but I cried after seeing her. Though she never met my father, she cared about me and my family. She had every right to not ask about my father, but she did because she is special. Her and Travis both have beautiful hearts and we are blessed to know them. We lost my father a few days later, but knowing we were in the thoughts and prayers of a family who was going through something terrible, brought me a sense of peace and comfort.

I will close with this…. Treyden was more than a boy. Treyden was a beacon of light and hope in this world. Treyden was a unifier. He brought together a community before he turned one. He accomplished more in his short time on earth than many accomplish in a full lifetime. He loved Mickey Mouse. He was a superhero. Treyden freed our hearts, pulledus from isolation and stirred in us emotional connection. Treyden, we will miss you, but we will not forget you.

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Treyden was 6 weeks old for his newborn session.  We had planned to do them earlier, but had to reschedule because Treyden’s unlcle Scot had been in a bad accident.  He slept so good and was sweet as can be.Image

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About a week after Treyden was diagnosed, I (Jenna) visited Cassie, Travis, and Treyden in the hospital.
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On November 18, 2012 Treyden was baptized at Ministry St. Joseph’s Hospital – Pediatrics by Pastor Zach Burris of North Ridge Stratford2013-06-13_0011 2013-06-13_0012 2013-06-13_0013 2013-06-13_0014 2013-06-13_0015 2013-06-13_0016 2013-06-13_0017

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We visited when Treyden was about 10 months old and did a family session right in their hospital room.  Treyden was a little ham for the camera and was full of smiles.  He even blew us kisses.  ❤2013-06-13_0022

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Our love for Treyden grew every day.  We feel so blessed to have been able to celebrate his birthday with him.   Treyden received many birthday wishes on Saving Treyden’s Facebook page as well as at the Candlelight Vigil held for him the evening of his birthday.  Buddy, you are loved by the world!

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His birthday party was decked out!  It felt like we were at Disney World.2013-06-13_0032

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 Today heaven received a beautiful angel.  Watch down on us Pooter.

Shine Your Light

Hope is everywhere. So often we think hope and inspiration only exist after trial and tribulation. People sometimes think only those who have fallen down the side of the mountain have a story worth telling, or think it has to be dark for a light to shine. We are here to say it’s not the case. Last week, Jenna and I met with two wonderful people (Clint and Brittany) who shared their Baptism story and their baptism day with us.

Clint is a chiropractor and has walked with God his whole life. His story is one I was excited to share. People tend to view adult Baptism as an act reserved for the “born again” or the “wayward found”. Clint’s story falls into neither category. He was baptized as a baby and is starting a new tradition in his family, following in Jesus’ footsteps. I was speaking to Pastor Daniel Tyler about the idea of adult Baptism for those without the drug addicted troubled past. He said one thing, “Jesus was baptized as an adult and He was perfect!” I loved it! It’s so simple. Sometimes I feel silly because I forget who Jesus is, what He did and try to hold myself to a different standard. I believe Clint’s story will inspire many others to step into the waters of Baptism and begin a new tradition in their family.

When Brittany shared her story, I wasn’t ready for some of the points she made. The imagery used in describing her relationship with God was beautiful. I was touched by it. At one point, she mentioned she felt as though God was telling her He was sick of watching her cry because she is His daughter. I know God is our father, but for some reason, when she spoke those sentences, I was touched. Jenna and I have a daughter and perhaps I have new perspective on how God the Father sees His children. Brittany has since thanked us for capturing her Baptism. I’d like to say, thank you Brittany, for sharing your story with us. It is when we allow others to see our heart and share in our journey we can influence change.

These two stepped out in boldness and became vulnerable. We believe hearts were changed because they shared. Clint and Brittany are wonderful examples of inspiration without overwhelming adversity. There lights shine even though it’s not dark. So shine your light when the times are good, and keep it shining when the times get bad. We are in this together, and as long as Jenna and I have air in our lungs, we will continue to seek out stories in need of telling. The journey of Cue The Light is just beginning, and we are so glad you’re with us.

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Invest in Your Marriage | CONNECT a Marriage Retreat for Photographers

Oh CONNECT, where do I begin. Do I start with how you changed my wife and my marriage? How you stripped it down to it’s foundation, fixed the cracks and with brick and mortar began to build a new, stronger creation? Or should I start with the new relationships you blessed us with? Or should I talk about the food…

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Our travels started at midnight, so we were up for about 40 hours straight by the end of the first day of CONNECT.

I suppose I should explain what CONNECT is. CONNECT is a marriage retreat for husband and wife photography/cinematography teams. There is something about disconnecting from the world, plugging into your peer group, and finding we all share the same struggles in marriage and in business. Is it bad I was glad to see Jenna and I weren’t the only ones feeling like we didn’t have it all figured out!?!

These new friends were so welcoming and open. They were willing to listen and give their honest opinion. They challenged us and helped us find answers to questions we didn’t even know we had.  We came into CONNECT with the intention of launching our non-profit Cue The Light. Starting a non-profit is a daunting task, and it’s easy to talk yourself out of what God has called you to do when it’s scary. Through fireside, lunch and dinner conversations, we saw so many rally around us and encourage us confirming we are on the right path.

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But what’s the use of finding the path God has called you to when you’ve placed him 6th on your list of priorities. Of all the experiences and takeaways from the retreat, this one was the most life changing. We knew God had been put on the back burner, but had no idea how far back He had been placed. The growth in our relationships with each other and more importantly God, has been unreal. Our spiritual growth is the reason we will be coming back to next year’s CONNECT, and the one after and so on!

I almost forgot. I mentioned food at the beginning didn’t I. The food is ridiculous! 24/7 soft serve ice cream, can I get an Amen! Deep fried cheese and grits, I didn’t know they made such a thing! Even the vegetables tasted good! Seriously, the food is the other reason we’re coming back.

Jenna and I are so excited to go back next year. We see a need to continuously invest in our marriage and in our industry. To join forces with like-minded individuals, no matter your peer group is a powerful, life-altering endeavor.  One I encourage everyone to embark on. I am so glad Jenna and I have found ours in the CONNECT retreat.

-Eric and Jenna

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So sad to leave all our new friends! We still miss everyone, and can’t wait to be back next year.

Cue The Light: Who We Are and How You Can Help

Over the past year, our family has been taken on a journey of discovery. Sitting where we are now, looking back at the path leading to this moment, we sit in wonderment. Never would we have guessed, out of two deaths and a meeting a sweet baby boy with cancer, God would reveal our calling in this world.

After viewing a heartbreaking Facebook post stating a recent newborn client, Treyden, had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia, our hearts immediately broke.  About a week later, we visited them in the hospital and took a few moments to capture a couple images of the family.  What we didn’t know was that this would be the Genesis of our life’s calling.

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We donated our photo and video services to Treyden’s family several times throughout his battle. Our hearts were overwhelmed by the response from the family and thousands of other people following his story. This was impactful and meant something so much more than anything we had done to that point.

Two months ago, our sister-in-law’s baby girl passed away at 34 weeks gestation. I [Jenna] immediately felt a tug at my heart to ask them if they would like me to come and photograph their sweet baby after she was born.  It was a battle with my heart because I didn’t think I would have the strength to do it, but God provided me more than strength; He provided healing through the process.  At the memorial service for sweet Elizabeth, my sister-in-law hugged the picture frame of her daughter and stroked her face as she would have if she was holding her in her arms.  There isn’t a good way to describe that moment except for powerful.

The next week my [Eric’s] father became ill with the blood infection Staph Aureus. He lost his memory, his ability to speak and his vision. It was so hard speaking to my father when his mental capacity was reduced to that of a two year old. Slowly he started coming back to us. He remembered us again. When we said we loved him, he said I love you too. But his recovery wouldn’t last. That Friday night, we were shooting a wedding when I received the call that his brain had hemorrhaged. I heard his last breathes on the telephone through my sobs. I told him I’d make him proud. I lost my dad that night. My father was a veteran from the Vietnam War era and was given military rites at his funeral. Jenna was able to keep composed and give us some amazing images from the 21-gun salute. Our family holds these images close to our hearts.

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Through these events, we discovered our mission. We will be there for those in tribulation, loss, and victory. We wish to share stories of strength through adversity. Whether it’s a sick child or a wounded veteran returning home to face a new life. Whether it’s someone who has overcome adversity and wants to share their journey to inspire others, or someone who is at the foot of the hill and just taking their first steps to climb it. We will serve these people. We will also serve other non-profit organizations serving both in and out of the USA. We will be there on a case-by-case basis to share these stories with the world.

Here’s how you can help or mission. We are currently seeking a grant from Intuit.com. The more likes we get, the better our chances to receive the grant of $5,000. The grant will help us pay for legal fees and professional guidance to start our non-profit.  Below is a link for the voting. You can vote once a day until May 12th. Please take some time and read our wish. If your heart is in line with ours please vote to help us raise the funds to launch our non-profit.

https://www.loveourlocalbusiness.com/base/lolb2desktop?region_id=us-en&content_id=19582

We are also accepting donations through gofundme.com. One time or reoccurring donations are both possible and greatly appreciated. Donations can be given at the following link. Immediately, we are trying to raise $4,200 towards the creation of our custom webpage from Julie Story.

http://www.gofundme.com/2oaudw

For those interested in serving along side us, in your area, we would love for you to join our team.  We aren’t quite ready to start building our team yet, but please follow us on our blog or Facebook for updates.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for supporting us.

Love,

Eric and Jenna Beach

Email: info@cuethelight.org

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/cuethelight